Barry Goldwater

by Gogoboots on June 23, 2014

Birth Name: Barry Morris Goldwater

Date of Birth: January 2, 1909

Place of Birth: Phoenix, Arizona Territory

Date of Death: May 29, 1998

Place of Death: Paradise Valley, Arizona, U.S.

*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*English (mother)

Barry Goldwater was an American politician and businessperson. He served as a Republican U.S. Senator from Arizona, from January 3, 1953 to January 3, 1965, and again from January 3, 1969 to January 3, 1987.

He was the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 1964. He was also a candidate for the Republican Party’s 1960 presidential nomination.

Barry was the son of Hattie Josephine (Williams) and Baron M. Goldwater. He had four children with his first wife, Margaret Johnson, to whom he was married until her death.

Barry’s father was Jewish (of Polish Jewish and Russian Jewish descent). Barry’s mother, who was of English ancestry, was Christian. Barry was raised an Episcopalian, though he sometimes referred to himself as Jewish. His second wife, Susan Shaffer Wechsler (married from 1992 to his 1998, his death), was a convert to Judaism (for reasons unrelated to her marriage to Barry).

Barry Goldwater is one of two people of Jewish heritage to be nominated for President of the United States by a major American political party. John Kerry, nominated by the Democratic Party in 2004, was the other (Kerry’s paternal grandparents were born Jewish, though Kerry’s father and Kerry himself were raised Catholic).

Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Democratic Party in 2000.

Barry’s paternal grandfather was Michel/Mike/Michael Goldwasser (the son of Hirsch/Hersch Goldwasser and Scheindel-Chawe/Fravda). Michel was born in Konin, Poznanskiego, Poland. Hirsch was the son of Naftali Hersch Goldwasser and Esther Scheindel.

Barry’s paternal grandmother was Sarah Nathan (the daughter of Moses Nathan and Hannah). Sarah was born in London, England, to parents from Russia.

Barry’s maternal grandfather was Robert Royal Williams (the son of John Asbury Williams and Ann Alfrey). Robert was born in Illinois. John was the son of John Williams and Mildred Amelia Gill. Ann was the daughter of John Alfrey and Barbara Ann Green.

Barry’s maternal grandmother was Laura Josephine Smith (the daughter of William Coats Smith and Sarah Liming). Laura was born in Ohio. William was the son of Daniel Smith and Hannah Coates. Sarah was the daughter of Ephraim Liming and Phoebe Foster.

Barry’s paternal great-grandparents, Hirsch/Hersch Goldwasser and Scheindel-Chawe/Fravda, were also the paternal great-great-great-great-grandparents of actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Thus, Barry and Christopher are second cousins, three times removed.

Barry was the first person of Jewish heritage to win a caucus and/or primary for a major party’s Presidential nomination. He won 7 in 1964, the year he was nominated. Three other people of Jewish heritage have won a major party’s presidential caucus and/or primary:
*John Kerry (2004, the year he was nominated; Democratic; won 51 contests)
*Wesley Clark (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination; won 1 state, Oklahoma; Clark was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and is a practicing Catholic)
*Bernie Sanders (who sought the 2016 Democratic nomination; won 23 contests)

Of the four, only Bernie Sanders is Jewish by religion, and he is the first person of Jewish religion to win a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination (the 2016 New Hampshire primary).

Other people of significant Jewish heritage who have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*Milton Shapp (who sought the 1976 Democratic nomination)
*Larry Agran (who sought the 1992 Democratic nomination)
*Arlen Specter (who sought the 1996 Republican nomination)
*Joe Lieberman (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination)
*John H. Cox (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*Fred Karger (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination)

Shapp, Agran, Specter, Lieberman, and Karger were/are all Jewish by religion. Shapp was the first person of Jewish religion to mount a prominent campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Sources: Genealogies of Barry Goldwater –

Genealogy of Barry Goldwater (focusing on his father’s side) –

Barry Goldwater on the 1920 U.S. Census –

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

neiltennant August 29, 2016 at 9:00 am


bearboy September 30, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Yes they look great!

andrew August 28, 2016 at 3:35 pm
andrew June 8, 2016 at 5:47 am

amazing picture

bearboy February 5, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Follers, are Madeline Albright and John Kerry the only two Secretary of State leaders with Jewish roots?

follers February 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

I assume you know about Henry Kissinger?

Colin Powell has stated that he has some degree of Jewish ancestry through a “Broomfield” ancestor. But the Broomfield family of Jamaica is not Jewish (Bob Marley is another descendant).

Judah P. Benjamin, the Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America for most of its existence, was Jewish, as well.

Gogoboots June 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I thought his paternal grandmother was born in England? Maybe I misread what it said on

follers June 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm

“Sarah was born in London, England, to parents from Russia.”

I made it pretty explicit in the text.

His grandmother, Sarah Nathan, who was born in London, was of course Jewish, too.

follers June 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

Barry Goldwater was the first person of Jewish heritage to be nominated for President or Vice President on a major party ticket in the U.S. Joe Lieberman (2000) and John Kerry (2004) are the other two.

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